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bmac

56th London Division battalion histories

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bmac

Histories of:

London Scottish

Queen Victorias Rifles

Queen's Westminster Rifles

Kensingtons

London Rifle Brigade

2nd Londons

4th Londons

7th Middlesex

The Rangers

1/5th Cheshires

2/2 City of London Field Ambulance

also Royal Fusiliers (all batts) and Middlesex Regt (all batts)

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Guest JohnnyCanuck

Hi Bill;

In the information on the 56th Division, is there anything on the 182nd Brigade, A Battery, Royal Field Artillery?

Thanks,

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bmac

The 56th (1st London) Division was not formed until February 1916 and its artillery units were the 1/1 through 1/3 London Bde RFA (renumbered to 280-282 Brigades RFA) to which was added the 283 Bde RFA. There was a 1st London Division (TF) (and 2nd London Division) at the beginning of the war based at home which was then split up as its component battalions were sent overseas. Technically this is the same as the 56th (1st London) Division formed in 1916 but between October 1914 and Februray 1916, the 1st London Division ceased to exist. 182 Brigade may have been originally attached to the 1st London Division in the first two months of the war but what happened to it after that I really couldn't say.

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Guest JohnnyCanuck

Thanks for your reply Bill. I'll have to see about getting some information from the PRO, from the War Diary for this RFA Brigade, and see if I can't better follow this unit.

Regards

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andyspiller

Bill

Just started looking at my wife's great-uncles (twins) who were killed within a month of each other in March/April 1917. One was 2/10th Bn Middx (TF) and the other was 1st Bn Middx. I have found some stuff on 1st Bn but not a lot on 2/10th. Any Ideas/links?

Regards

Andy

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stu

Hi Bill,

Can you please tell me what the Queens Westminsters were upto on 21/2/15 to 24/2/15,and is there possibly a mention of any raids/action during period aswell as any mention of a Pte W.E.Roberts.

Many thanks.

Stu.

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Guest mcoles

Hi --

My father (H. G. D. Coles) was a 2nd Lieutenant in the London Rfile Brigade. He was in trenches to the east of Arras from April - August 1918. I have his diary covering this period. On August 22, he was assigned to Nucleus Personnel. The diary stops at this point and I am trying to find our what happened to him between this date and May 19, 1919, when he was evacuated to a hospital in the UK. Is there anything in the History of the 51st Division that might indicate what they were doing between August, 1918 and May 1919?

Thanks for any help you can give.

Mike Coles

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Chris_Baker

Bill, does the 1/5th Cheshires diary include any mention by name of OR casualties at any time? I'm particulrly interested in the September 1916 period.

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John_Hartley

Chris

I think Bill has the battalion history, not the Diary.

I was using the copy at the Reg. Museum a few weeks back and am pretty sure casualties were NOT generally mentioned by name.

Any specific date in mind?

John

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Chris_Baker

Of course, I should have read Bill's original post properly! Thanks, John. No specific date in mind, but I believe that Pte 15554 Harold Pritcahrd may have been wounded between 8 September and the end of the month and I would love to confirm that.

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bmac

Just to say that since posting the original list I have added the unit histories of the:

2/1 London Field Ambulance and

2/3 London Field Ambulance

to the collection.

So the complete list now reads:

56th (1st London) Division

London Scottish (1st and 2nd Battalions)

Queen Victoria's Rifles (1st and 2nd Battalions)

Queen's Westminster Rifles (1st Battalion)

Kensingtons (1st and 2nd Battalions)

London Rifle Brigade (1st and 2nd Battalions)

2nd Londons (1st and 2nd Battalions)

4th Londons (1st and 2nd Battalions)

1/7th Middlesex

The Rangers (1st and 2nd Battalions)

1/5th Cheshires

2/1 London Field Ambulance

2/2 London Field Ambulance

2/3 London Field Ambulance

also Royal Fusiliers (all batts) and Middlesex Regt (all batts to 1916)

I believe these to be every regimental history published for the 56th Division.

I also have most of the War Diaries (Div, Bde, battalion, TMB, MGC, RFA, etc.) for the period May-early July 1916

Lastly, I have enabled email notification of replies to this thread and I apologise to anyone I ignored previously. I had just forgotten I had posted all of this.

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MIDMED

Hello Bill

Looking for anything you have on Sgt Biddle DCM, MM . 2/2 London F.A (TF) 56th Div.

Very best

Tom

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Mike McCarthy

Bill, I am taking a group over on Friday and one of them has just told me he had 3 relatives in 56 Div.

Pvt Thomas Allen Dewey 2/1 London Field Ambulance KIA 9/4/18

Rfn Cecil Wilfred Dewey 2/9 London Rgt (QVR) KIA 3/9/17

Pvt E C Willoughby 2/3 London Field Ambulance. Awarded MM (Lon gazette date 13 March 18. Action date unknown.)

Can you assist with the Unit Histories covering these periods. Any help appreciated,

Thanks

Mike

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bmac
Hello Bill

Looking for anything you have on Sgt Biddle DCM, MM . 2/2 London F.A  (TF) 56th Div.

After the war Sgt G Biddle lived at 9 Exon Street, Old Kent Road, SE17.

There are no indexes to the FA Histories so best I can do is scan text for references. On a first glance, although the most decorated NCO of the unit I cannot spot any references. Will take another look ASAP.

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MIDMED
After the war Sgt G Biddle lived at 9 Exon Street, Old Kent Road, SE17.

There are no indexes to the FA Histories so best I can do is scan text for references.  On a first glance, although the most decorated NCO of the unit I cannot spot any references.  Will take another look ASAP.

Thanks Bill, if you click on my card you will see some bits belonging to Biddle, thought there may be an image of him in the unit history.

Sir

many thanks for your time.......

Tom

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bmac
Bill, I am taking a group over on Friday and one of them has just told me he had 3 relatives in 56 Div.

Pvt Thomas Allen Dewey 2/1 London Field Ambulance KIA 9/4/18

Rfn Cecil Wilfred Dewey 2/9 London Rgt (QVR) KIA 3/9/17

Pvt E C Willoughby 2/3 London Field Ambulance. Awarded MM (Lon gazette date 13 March 18. Action date unknown.)

Nothing on Willoughby.

April 9th 1917 a high explosive shell hit a house in Dainville killing five 2/1st LFAs and wounding 11 others. Tom Dewey was killed outright.

"Poor Tom Dewey, whom everyone had liked and who had given us so many hours of laughter with his whimsical ways, his funny face and his agile dacning and clever fooling - it seemed incredible that we should never again chuckle with enjoyment at his antics."

Other comments:

Dewey appeared in the 2/1st Concert Party in early 1918 as one of two robbers in 'Babes in the Wood'. Described as "gorgeously funny".

Late summer of 1917 the 2/1st were at the St Jean Hospital, Arras. Concert party gave nighly performances as 'The Issues'.

"Tom Dewey was again the bright particular star and carried the whole show on his back."

Christmas Day 1916 at La Gorgue, concert party performed 'Dick Whittington':

"Tom Dewey, indefatigable and immensely funny as 'Idle Jack'.

Cecil Wilfred Dewey enlisted Wallington, Surrey. The following seems to describe what happened. 2/9th QVR were moving up to the front prior to involvement in 3rd Ypres. The battalion was in dugouts on the Yser canal bank just south of Essex Farm near Bridge 4. At 7.15am a shell landed on the dugout occupied by 15 men of C Company. 6 were killed and 8 wounded. The dead were buried in the afternoon in the cemetery half mile south of Essex Farm.

Hope this is useful.

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Mike McCarthy

Bill,

More than I had hoped for. Thanks so much. This will make the trip for this chap. Thanks & best regards Mike

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tombowcock

Hi Bill,

You very kindly have helped me before with a query on the 2nd LR. Any possibility of helping with a couple of queries on 26 Bn (Bankers) Royal Fusiliers Regiment ?

Grateful for what you could tell me regarding the below people and or dates:-

Private Simeon Rowe - 23286

26 Bn (Bankers) R.F on 14/12/1916

L/Cpl Reginald Tucker

26 Bn (Bankers) R.F on 18/6/1916

Once again - very grateful for all your help so far.

Very Best wishes

James

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bmac
Private Simeon Rowe - 23286

26 Bn (Bankers) R.F on 14/12/1916

L/Cpl Reginald Tucker

26 Bn (Bankers) R.F on 18/6/1916

Sorry, nothing about the 26/RF in June 1916.

On the day after your man was killed in December a German raiding party attacked a wiring party of the 26/RF. They were fought off by a Pte Jones with a machine gun though several were wounded. Three men were killed on the 14th, one on the 15th and two on the 16th though the ones on the 15th and 16th died of wounds. Wonder whether the date of the action is correct and it went off on the 14th? Anyway, they were north of Wytschaete Ridge when it happened.

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tombowcock
Sorry, nothing about the 26/RF in June 1916.

On the day after your man was killed in December a German raiding party attacked a wiring party of the 26/RF.  They were fought off by a Pte Jones with a machine gun though several were wounded.  Three men were killed on the 14th, one on the 15th and two on the 16th though the ones on the 15th and 16th died of wounds.  Wonder whether the date of the action is correct and it went off on the 14th?  Anyway, they were north of Wytschaete Ridge when it happened.

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the info. SDGW has both down as KIA on those respecteive dates.

Simeon Rowe is buried in , Ridge Wood Military Cemetery, Heuvelland, West Vlaanderen, Belgium.

Reginald Tucker is buried in Hyde Park Corner (Royal Berks) Cemetery, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium..

I guess that ties them in with that general area.

Once again, Many Thanks for your help.

Best Wishes

James

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Chris_B

Bill,

Hello again, do you have any information that might throw some light on the circumstances of this man's death:

Name: WILSON, EDWARD MILTON

Initials: E M

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Rifleman

Regiment: London Regiment (Queen Victoria's Rifles)

Unit Text: 9th Bn.

Age: 19

Date of Death: 24/10/1918

Service No: 394515

Additional information: Son of Edward and Sarah Wilson, of 70, Acre Rd., Merton, London.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Q. 35.

Cemetery: CAMBRIN MILITARY CEMETERY

SDGW list's him as DOw, so it could be hard to pinpoint.

Thanks,

Chris.

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bmac

The QVR were advancing through an area east of Lens in late October. On the 22nd they crossed the Belgian border at Howardrie and ended up in Rongy where they came under fire. No reports of casualties. Prior to that they had come up via Harnes, Roncheaux, Auchy and Rumegies from the 13th to the 22nd with small actions on the 15th, 21st and 22nd. Given that Cambrin is some way behind the line he could have been wounded on any of these days. The QVR history does not mention casualties though there clearly were some.

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Chris_B

Bill,

Thanks for the information, at least it gives me some idea.

Regards,

Chris.

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armourersergeant

Bill,

HARVEY, BERNARD SYDNEY

Initials: B S

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Captain

Regiment: London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade)

Unit Text: 1st/5th Bn.

Age: 27

Date of Death: 01/07/1916

Additional information: Son of Walter Sydney and Florence Harvey, of 9, Vale Court, Maida Vale, London.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Pier and Face 9 D.

Cemetery: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

This chap is mentioned by Snow in his diary as someone he knows but i have not made the connection yet, though think it maybe the parents of the man.

Does your history say anything on him or the way he died etc.

regards

Arm

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bmac

I believe Harvey may have gone to and then taught at Snow's first school. He was educated at St Andrew’s, Eastbourne, Malvern College, and Trinity College, Oxford. On leaving Oxford he became assistant master at St Andrew’s, Eastbourne. Harvey was shot down trying to escape from the German lines in front of Gommecourt in the early evening of 1st July 1916.

See also below:

From St Andrew’s Magazine, August 1916 about Capt Bernard Harvey of the London Rifle Brigade

The General of Capt Bernard Harvey, they met in St Andrew’s field early this term, wrote to me on July 2nd:

Capt Harvey was a gallant soul and he met with a death that does honour to St Andrew’s. When dining with me last Sunday he told me how eagerly he was looking forward to the attack in which we now know he was to meet his end. His one ambition was to bring the war to a successful end and then to return to his old work at St Andrew’s which placed he loved so well. Capt Harvey led his company into the German line in the front wave of the attack at 7.30am on 1st July. During the day he was twice wounded but continued to lead his company. Later in the evening when conducting the retirement and very weak from his wounds he was killed. I feel sure he would have liked to know, probably does know, that from reports collected St Andrew’s knows of his doings on that summer half term day in 1916.

By the death of Bernard Harvey and Ronald Taylor I have been deprived of two of the staunchest colleagues and dearest friends any man could possess.

===========

From the Malvernian.

The late Capt Bernard S Harvey.

An earnestness of purpose crowned with an attractive personality endeared Bernard Harvey to all who knew him. He set a fine example of loyalty to school and house and he never spared himself to make others share his true enjoyment of life. At Oxford he figured prominently on the river and he interested himself in the Trinity College Mission. He chose schoolmastering as his profession and returned to his former school, St Andrew’s, Eastbourne. At the outbreak of war he applied for and received a commission in the 5th Battalion of the London Regiment. He was wounded in May 1915. Early this year he was promoted to be Captain. He was killed on July 1st.

His General writes:

On of his men was with him when he was hit in the shoulder but he still continued to lead his men and cheer them on. He was wounded again and in the evening when conducting the retirement he and others had to get through some wire and in doing so a noise was made that attracted the attention of the enemy and the end came at once.

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